Multiple sources are reporting that a 16 year old male was fatally injured in an ATV crash in Guttenberg, Iowa.
Television station KCRG out of Cedar Rapids reported the accident happened at approximately 3 o’clock a.m. Sunday in Clayton County, approximately five miles north of Guttenberg.
According to KCRG, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office says the boy was a passenger on the ATV and was thrown from the vehicle when the driver struck a fence.
ATV accidents and injuries are all too common. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports roughly 135,000 injuries and 800 deaths occur annually in the United States from ATV accidents.
Laws regarding operation of ATVs vary widely from state to state. Some states have a minimum mandatory age that an operator must be, some states require a “safety certificate” for ATV operators, while still other states have virtually no regulations that deal with driving or riding on ATVs.
Although initial reports indicate that the ATV driver in the Guttenberg ATV fatality was 23 years old, the passenger who was killed was just 16. It is due, in part, to cases like this that led the Consumer Federation of America to issue a press release saying ATVs Are Dangerous to Children: Must be Designed Safer.
ATVs have been made safer over the years but they have also become more powerful and faster which, in some ways, negates the safety improvements.
ATV Safety Tips
Many ATV owners and operators contend the vehicles are safe as long as they are handled in a responsible manner. The ATV Safety Institute has published several safety tips which are listed below.
• Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves. That is “all the gear all the time”.
• Never ride on paved roads except to cross and then only do so when it can be done safely and is legal. Remember, ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
• Never ride while under the influence of any mind altering chemicals. Drugs and alcohol impair judgment and slow reaction time.
• Never carry more passengers than your particular ATV is designed to carry.
• Ensure the ATV that you operate is right for your size and age.
• All ATV operators and passengers under 16 should be supervised.
Legal Issues Surrounding ATV Accidents
ATV accidents that result in injury can be quite complex. One of the fist issues that must be overcome is identifying whether or not there was insurance on the ATV at the time of the accident.
ATV insurance can be found as a “rider” on a homeowners policy or as a stand alone policy. Unfortunately, in some cases, there is no insurance at all.
However, injured parties should still seek whatever medical treatment is needed and then look to their health insurance, if applicable, for payment of those bills.
In addition to looking for appropriate insurance, an investigation must be undertaken to determine, if possible, what caused the accident. Just a few of the possible causes of ATV accidents are: mechanical failure, operator error, and / or negligently maintained property. The primary cause must be determined in order to properly make a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
The lawyers at Des Moines Injury Law.com have handled many ATV accidents and are able to draw on our network of ATV experts in order to best represent our clients.
If you or a loved one have been injured or you have lost someone from an ATV accident, contact us today for a free consultation. We can be reached at 515-493-4878.